Nicola Wakefield Evans has been appointed Chair of the 30% Club Australia, and will lead the organisation as it aims to achieve its target of 30% women on boards at ASX 200 companies by the end of the year.
Wakefield Evans is replacing Patricia Cross in the role, who founded the Club in Australia in May 2015, and stands down on the 30th June.
Cross said in a statement she’s excited to be handing the reins to Wakefield Evans, given her passion and energy for getting more women on boards.
Supported by the AICD, The 30% Club has signed up 95 chairs of ASX 200 organisations during its three years of activity, and achieved 14 signatories on its investors’ Statement of Intent. During that time the proportion of women on boards has also grown from 19.4% to 27.7%.
Earlier this month figures from the AICD also revealed that women make up 30% of board positions on the ASX 100 for the first time.That puts us ahead of the UK (28.9%), US (23.6%) and Canada (20.6%). But there are still 5 ASX 200 boards that have no women.
Wakefield Evans is currently a non-executive director on a large range of boards, including Macquarie Group, Lendlease Corporation, Bupa Australia & New Zealand and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. She’s also on the national board of the AICD.
Prior to her board career, she was a partner with King & Wood Mallesons for more than 20 years, spending over 30 years in total with the firm.
Speaking recently at the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors conference, Wakefield Evans said that Australia has a “systemic cultural” problem with women in power.
She said that we have the support from business and the investment community to advocate for diverse boards, bi-partisan support from political leaders, while the community at large expects boards to reflect the populations. “So I believe the time is right to reignite this conversation and campaign,” she said.
“Gender still plays into the reporting of how directors and executives perform. It shouldn’t matter whether they are male or female.”